It’s official – we have selected our two athletes of the year for 2015, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce you to these incredible people.  Both of our ambassadors are training for Ironman Wisconsin on September 13th, and their stories are sure to inspire you.

This week, let’s meet Angie and hear a bit about her journey.  We have no doubt that you will love her as much as we already do!


A little bit about me

I am a Wisconsin native and have lived in the Madison area all of my life, even though I dream of being somewhere warm on a beach this time every year. I am a detective with the City of Madison Police Department, where I have been fortunate to work with a fantastic “second family” for the past 16 years and provide service to the citizens of the community.

My husband, Greg, and I have a 7 year old daughter named Finley. We love to stay active as a family, trying new activities and being adventurous. Our household also consists of plenty of fur and feather covered family members, as we have three dogs and four backyard chickens.

I have been fortunate to work with kids in several different capacities, including coaching Girls on the Run, as well as teaching our Classes on Personal Safety (C.O.P.S.) program as a Safety Education Officer for part of my tenure with the police department. Both experiences have been extremely rewarding and I am very much looking forward to continuing to work in a new capacity with Tri 4 Schools.

My triathlon history

In late 2010, a group of coworkers came up with the idea to put together a team of first responders to participate in Ironman Wisconsin 2011, which was being held on the tenth anniversary of 09/11, as way to pay remembrance and respect to those who responded to the tragedies and those who lost their lives.

My background was in running, and although I had participated in plenty of running events, I had not completed a single triathlon. I didn’t know how to swim and had never ridden a bike for longer than 20 miles. All that aside, I decided that I couldn’t miss participating in such a significant event, so I signed up. I put in the work, and finished the race. It was such an honor to be able to participate with other first responders, not only from my own department, but with those that made the journey from other states and countries as well.

Why I signed up for Ironman…again!

I had actually signed up to participate in Ironman Wisconsin in 2014. I was looking to challenge myself again physically and mentally. My father passed away unexpectedly in January of 2014, and although I began my training in earnest, I found that my heart wasn’t in it, and I needed time to heal without the stresses of such intense training. I withdrew from the race in early summer and knew it was the right decision for me.

On race day, I spent the entire day spectating, beginning with the swim and ending at the finish line under the night sky. The energy of the participants and spectators is like nothing else. Standing at the finish line that night, watching all of the athletes accomplish their goals, I reflected on so many of the life lessons I learned from my dad: work hard, believe in yourself, and never give up.

I knew I was ready to try again in 2015, and I signed up the next day.

Why I chose to partner with Tri 4 Schools

I truly believe in Tri 4 Schools mission of combating childhood obesity through getting kids active in the sport of triathlon, as well as the opportunities provided to area schools through fitness programs and funding for much needed equipment. Computers, video games and other sedentary activities can make it very challenging to keep our future generations active and healthy. Tri 4 Schools approach is multifaceted, beginning with encouraging kids to get involved in swimming, biking and running and culminating into participation in an event.

Tri 4 Schools then assists teachers and schools in our communities in continuing the health and fitness initiatives long term by giving 100% of all race entry fees back to our schools so they are afforded opportunities they would not be able to give their kids otherwise. I believe that not only does this approach benefit kids in the area of physical fitness, but also in instilling confidence, building self­esteem and imparting the importance of dedication and responsibility.

I am honored to be able to represent Tri 4 Schools and raise money to continue to further the efforts of such a great organization.

What I am most looking forward to

I am most looking forward to meeting and working with many of the great kids and teachers involved in the program! I would love to take part in the Exercise to Achievement program, as well as the Tri 4 School events. Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces as they cross the finish line will be more rewarding than any race I will complete myself.

Secondly, I have been given the opportunity to train with Coach Cindi Bannink and the Madison Multisport team. I am looking forward to training with a great coach and a great group of athletes. I know that Cindi will give me more structure and push me harder to succeed than I would ever push myself.

What do I think my biggest challenge will be

Time management of completing the required training to be successful on race day will be a challenge to juggle with family, work and life responsibilities. I am confident however that with a great family support system (they really are the best!), a great coach and training team, and the support of everyone at Tri 4 Schools, I will be successful.

I am so excited to start on this journey.